As you tour different communities, understanding differences in staffing is an important factor. After all, it is the staff that provide the care for you or your loved one.
First, ask about the nursing staff since staffing requirements vary among communities and may be regulated by the state. You will want to know how many nursing staff are scheduled for each shift. You should reasonably expect that the higher the level of care offered the more staff are available.
Find out how many hours per day a nurse (LPN or RN) is scheduled on-site. This will give you an idea of the level of supervision provided.
It is also important to know that if your doctor calls to change a medicine or the type of care, there is someone at the community who can respond to the doctor’s orders. Ask who is responsible for administering medications and completing care assessments.
Also, you will want to know about the turnover rate for staff and the tenure of key employees. Besides the nursing staff, find out what other support staff are available and what their responsibilities are. Does the community have dedicated staff to implement activities, provide dining services, complete housekeeping and laundry chores, and do routine maintenance or do staff take on multiple responsibilities?
Note how all staff interacts with residents. Do they greet residents by name and seem to know about their level of care? Ask how staff is assigned to care for residents and who supervises what care is given. Be sure you are comfortable with the staffing before deciding on which assisted living community you choose.